© and (P)2007 BBC Audiobooks Ltd.
While some readers and listeners of Jacqueline Raynor's earlier Doctor Who novels may have not been looking forward to her third entry in the new series (the second available on audio), I found The Last Dodo to exceed my expectations.
The novel is told in first- and third-person, and as the character used for the first-person viewpoints is played by the actress doing the reading, this goes beyond a mere reading and into a very enjoyable performance.
Ms. Rayner's didactic tendencies continue to show in this book, but by finally using a futuristic setting, instead of the past or the present, we're treated to some interesting worldbuilding in the process too.
The Last Dodo is not only an enjoyable adventure on its own, but it utilizes the audiobook medium in a way not seen in most Doctor Who books, thanks to the first-person passages. I recommend it.
Freema, who plays Martha on the show, reads this story beautifully. The story itself is fun and never gets boring, with lots of time given to both The Doctor and Martha. At times Martha speaks direct to the reader and those are particularly nice and unusual - insights into her thoughts.
Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, Jane Austen, Doctor Who, Elizabeth Gaskell, Doctor Who, other period drama, Doctor Who.
Someday I'll get a book actually narrated by Adjoa Andoh. Although I do enjoy listening to Freema Agyeman, so it wasn't a big turn-off for me. What is a turn-off is that this story flips back and forth between third-person narration and first-person, with Martha telling the story. It's really hard to tell where they switch back and it just gets annoying.
Granted, I have about half an hour left, but I'm sort of indifferent as to the ending. It felt like it could've ended (really lamely) about 15 minutes ago with an "and then the Doctor came and reversed it and it's no big deal and everybody lives happily ever after." I've read several other Doctor/Martha stories, and this one is one of my least favorite. Not a complete waste of time, but there are better ones out there.
I wasn't sure how much I would like Freema Agyeman's reading of this story, since her voice in the TV series is sometimes a bit high-pitched. But I found her reading voice to be pleasantly pitched and without stumbles. The story of her and Doctor Who's encounter with an intergalactic zoo and the last dodo is interesting and would make a good TV episode. Worth a listen and even a second one in the future.
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